Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Ellie's First Trip to the Zoo

For Father's Day we went to Billings for lunch with Leif's family. Then we went to Zoo Montana. Fathers got in free, and we'd been wanting to see the zoo, so we took Ellie for her first zoo outing. Zoo Montana is different from other zoos in that it only has animals that are native to our latitude. So there were no elephants or giraffes, but we did see a Siberian Tiger and Red Pandas. The zoo is open year round since the animals' native habitat has similar weather patterns to our own and don't need to be kept in overwintering pens during the cold months. The zoo has paths that wind around through native plant gardens and exhibits. It was really relaxing to spend an afternoon walking around there, which is different from my experiences at other zoos. Most of the zoos I've been to leave me hot, tired, and cranky by the time we go home. This one was different and I dare say we'd be willing to go back there again sometime. It was a nice way to spend Father's Day with the family.

Some of these pictures still need to be edited (for darkness, etc.) but they are some of my favorites from that day:

Ellie was sort of confused by the iguana aquarium in the welcome center at the zoo.

One of the peacocks at the barn was doing a little dance with his tail all spread out, so we had Uncle Eric take some pictures of Ellie by it. I've never seen a peacock with his tail out like that in real life - it was stunning! He let us get really close to him, too...!

Ellie and Daddy enjoyed looking at the big horn sheep display. Ellie preferred sitting on Daddy's shoulders to riding in her stroller. I think Leif preferred it, too.

I thought this was the cutest little river otter! He was one of the last animals we saw, but I'm glad we stopped to look on our way out.

All in all, it was a good day. Nice weather, nice zoo, and a fun outing with family.

Eliana walking with Uncle Eric and Daddy.

My sweeties

I saw this picture taken on Father's Day and I couldn't resist. I love these guys!

Monday, June 25, 2007

Little Runaway

Ellie's a little stinker sometimes. This video started out as her playing, but then she found something more fun than her toys and ran away when I tried to get it from her. This is sort of what she does these days.

(If the link says "image coming soon" you can still click it and it will work. I have no idea why the picture isn't there, but the video will play.)


Ellie finally has enough hair that she gets bedhead when she wakes up! It's the cutest.

Ellie babbling and saying hi

(This is the first time I've used YouTube, but Google Video hasn't been working for a couple weeks, so this is what you get! And for the record, the extra videos you can click on at the end are of OTHER people's babies named Eliana, not mine. I haven't figured out yet how to edit that out of the YouTube embed code. Sorry.)

The Difference

We got a Roomba a while back. Ellie thinks that she needs to touch it; we do our best to convince her otherwise. Yesterday Ellie decided to unplug Roomba's home base and stick the live end of the power supply into her mouth. Then there was much crying.

About an hour later, I found her pulling the cord out of the home base again.

It reminded me of this comic. Perhaps she'll be a scientist.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Piano time!

Last night we had the Varpnesses over for dinner. Ellie loved having Lily here to play! At one point both Lily and Ellie were sitting at the piano, playing and laughing together. It was really cute.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Good Evening!

This afternoon we went for a little hike up to Palisade Falls in the Hyalite. It was a short hike and we went up quickly, but the falls were beautiful. Even Ellie was awe struck.

This was her first trip up to see Palisade and we even managed enough forethought to get a family picture in.

On the way down from the falls, we noticed a little purple flower by the trail. We recognized it as a "Fairy Slipper" or "Calypso" - one of the few orchids native to Montana. Then we noticed that there were quite a few of these delicate little flowers growing near the trail. They're fairly rare and only bloom for a couple weeks, so we feel fortunate to have seen them this time AND to have a camera with us! We'd seen them only once before in the four years that we've lived here. They really are beautiful.

Where'd Your Shirt Go?

Twice now when I have put Ellie down for a nap in this outfit (from 'Aunt' Angie) I have gone in after her nap and found her shirtless, with her shirt on the floor. Apparently, she takes it off and throws it when she wakes up. Silly girl.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Crinkle, Crinkle, Crinkle....

That would be the sound of parchment paper you hear. Yes, the sound of parchment paper strewn about, being crinkled by my daughter. She's getting taller and can reach things further back on the shelf now.

Adventure, Jamie!

Ellie is into exploring things, and everything is an adventure. We got her a new carseat and she loved the box. So Leif tore the bottom out of an old collapsible laundry bin and made her a new "tunnel". She LOVES to crawl through it and play peek-a-boo.

Look, Mommy! I found a weed to chew on!!

She's also starting to figure out how things work. This is either a very good thing, or a very bad thing! She will go to the front door and stand up, reeeeeeaching for the doorknob, trying to turn it. She can just barely touch it right now, so it won't be long before we will have to be very careful about keeping doors locked. She also knows that she's not supposed to touch Roomba. Still, she tries to on a daily basis and tests both the rules and our consistency with them. She will often hover her hand over Roomba until we tell her "No", then crawl on to something else. Yesterday she was pushing around a little package of baby wipes and pushed them over to Roomba. I reminded her not to touch Roomba and she looked at me with her innocent "Who? Me?" look. Then she picked up the package of wipes and put them on top of Roomba. Then she touched them. She's getting clever.


She also got a lesson in consequences yesterday. She thinks the buttons on the TV, VCR, DVD, and Wii machines are VERY cool. But she's not allowed to touch them and we remind her of that frequently. Yesterday, though, she did it anyway, while I was in another room. From the bedroom I heard her screaming, so I came to see what was the matter and, sure enough, she had her fingers stuck in the VCR. They were easy for me to get out, and there wasn't any bruising, just some squished fingers and a very sad Ellie. I'm hoping she'll remember that and keep her distance.

In other news, Ellie's 4th tooth has finally popped through! Also, she's been babbling like crazy, having these little conversations with herself all day long. And some of what she says actually sounds like she's talking. She consistently says "uh oh" when she drops something (or when she's about to... she hangs something over the edge of her high chair, looks at you and says "uh oh" then drops it. I can't say I'm too thrilled with that game.") and she says "bye bye" and waves when someone is leaving. Today she even said "bye bye" to Mommom on the phone. I love her constant babbling, and I especially love it when she sings. Last night she was playing with her musical toy and started singing with it. Not just humming, but singing in her little made up language. It was the cutest thing ever.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

How Many Do YOU Know?

BOSTON, MA — The editors of the American Heritage® dictionaries have compiled a list of 100 words they recommend every high school graduate should know.

"The words we suggest," says senior editor Steven Kleinedler, "are not meant to be exhaustive but are a benchmark against which graduates and their parents can measure themselves. If you are able to use these words correctly, you are likely to have a superior command of the language."

The following is the entire list of 100 words:

ETA: There are 11 of these words that I (Elizabeth) do not know well enough to use myself, and of those, only 3 that I don't understand in the context of a sentence. That gives me an 89% mastery of these words. How did you do?